The Complicated Raping Case (1993)
Directed by: Lok Daai-Yue
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Rich company head Yiu Yung Tat (Gam Biu) is kidnapped and a demand is put forth to his wife Jenny (Tsui Man-Wah) that she needs to pay 10 million dollars to get him back. Asked not to call the police, eventually out of fright she gets Tom Dick (Poon Jan-Wai) and his men on the case. A complicated one indeed where secrets lie in hiding. All while Tom strikes up a connection with Jenny... an inappropriate one.
Occasionally some of the actors and actresses in Lok Daai-Yue's The Complicated Raping Case lit up the screen, even when working with the Category III rating. In particular leading lady Tsui Man-Wah has proven to have a face (and body) that could command it (1*) and Lawrence Ng has managed to log work in genre classics such as Sex And Zen and A Chinese Torture Chamber Story. When brought together here with charisma vacuum Poon Jan-Wai (Brief Encounter) in your run of the mill mystery thriller (that isn't so much about a complicated raping case but more of a missing person-one. What word sells tickets though?), stale and static direction hinders most talent to come through.
Possessing an eye for very few things, Lok Daai-Yue certainly showcases what is often wrong with productions in an era where riding on a wave and making a quick buck was the name of the game. So although tapping into the character of Yiu Yung-Tat by showing his particular perverse leanings (one being that he likes to watch women being raped), distanced direction and a camera just idly standing there makes this short endeavor tough to sit through. As a fan of exploitation though, you do know that if effect is clinched via nasty or sexy moments in sporadic bursts, a lot can be forgiven. Very partially true for The Complicated Raping Case.
Eventually the movie at best is a more sexually explicit TV-thriller of below average standard, with some minor themes uttered by the cops about the perverse nature of the rich and of course the age old notion of not getting sexually involved with persons related to the case is put into non-practice here. A lot of focus is of course directed towards Tom and Jenny and you would be stupid to think she's NOT integral to the secrets in some way. Being very flirty and emotionally unstable, surely it's a game played and not just sexual frustration? It leads to the minor competence showed by director Lok as he manages to amp the sexy factor of the film via Tsui Man-Wah. During select moments we get re-confirmation how much the camera can loves her face (and body) and detailing a darker, rougher side to her (even sexually) at least shows appropriate mood created by Lok.
The camera isn't as bored anymore during those moments but we aren't especially excited to follow anything BUT the moments that adds to Tsui Man-Wah's demo reel if you will. As a murder mystery and a piece of exploitation, The Complicated Raping Case isn't interesting or is able to provide interest. Evident when the clearly told twists and secrets are revealed, the viewer is still stuck in the scenes of violent, sexual behaviour. We Tsui Man-Wah fans will imprint that in our memory. The rest won't and shouldn't bother trying.
The DVD (City Connection):
Video: 1.70:1 non-anamorphic widescreen.
Audio: Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: Imbedded English and Chinese.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson
(1) Watch the Temptation Summary II for a look at the sweet and charming Tsui Man-Wah.